Safety and security

Political situation

War in the surrounding region, continued pressures of large refugee populations and economic reform programmes have helped create an atmosphere in which protests often occur. These have taken place in many parts of Jordan on Fridays and sometimes on other days of the week. Demonstrations may occur in town centres, refugee camps and other locations. Violent clashes have also been known to occur on university campuses.

Follow news reports and be aware of local sensitivities on these issues. Avoid all political gatherings and demonstrations. Take care, especially at night, when travelling to or via towns outside of Amman. Stay away from downtown Amman and the centres of other major towns and cities after Friday midday prayers and be aware of the possibility of spontaneous demonstrations and road blockages occurring elsewhere, particularly after sunset.

Border areas

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to within 3km of Jordan’s border with Syria. Whilst levels of military activity in southern Syria near the border with Jordan have decreased, the situation in Syria continues to evolve, and security threats in the form of instability or terrorist activity could arise with little or no notice. The land border between Jordan and Syria at Jaber-Nasib reopened on 15 October 2018. The FCO advise against all travel to Syria - for more information, see our Syria travel advice.

Jordan’s land borders are closed from time to time. Take care at all border crossings, particularly when travelling by taxi into neighbouring countries.

Jordanian army and police units patrol the entire border area with both Syria and Iraq. They have been known to engage vehicles and people in the border area and will continue to monitor traffic.

Terrorist groups are present in Syria, including those like Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) who routinely use kidnapping as a tactic.

There have been cases where passengers travelling into Iraq have been handed over to kidnappers once over the Iraqi border. Landmines may be located near military installations and borders. Minefields are usually fenced off and marked with a skull and crossbones sign, but fences and signs may be in a poor state of repair.

Crime

Crime levels are generally low: most crime is limited to pick pocketing, occasional bag snatching and theft from cars. Be vigilant and keep your money, passport and valuables secure.

Whilst large numbers of foreigners enjoy visiting Amman and hiking in some of Jordan’s more remote areas, women travellers often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment by individuals or groups of men. On occasion this can escalate and over the last 12 months there has been an increase in reports of cases of sexual assault. Female visitors and residents should take care when walking or travelling alone even during daylight hours. You should maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as you would in the UK. See these tips for women travellers.

Jordanian police advise anyone who finds themselves stranded - even in daytime - to call the police on 911.

Tribal violence

Clashes between feuding tribes, clans or families periodically erupt without notice and sometimes involve violence and the use of firearms. You should follow news reports and, if caught in an incident, leave the area and follow any police instructions given.

Road travel

Don’t accept lifts from strangers. If you have to use a taxi ask your hotel to recommend a reliable driver. Women shouldn’t ride in the front seat of a taxi, particularly when travelling alone.

You can drive in Jordan using an International Driving Permit. Make sure you have third party insurance. In Jordanian law a driver is always considered guilty if they hit a pedestrian. If you’re involved in such an incident, you could face imprisonment and be liable for the payment of hospital bills and other compensation.

According to the latest available World Health Organization data, Jordan ranks 36th in the world for the number of deaths as a result of road traffic accidents. Drive with care, especially at night, and avoid driving on unlit roads. Stray animals, broken-down vehicles and unmarked road works are common. If you have an accident, don’t leave the scene before the police have arrived and taken a statement. You can contact the police by calling 911.

The police carry out random security checks. Keep identification documents with you to present at these checkpoints. The police also strictly enforce the speed limit with fixed and hand-held speed traps. They issue on the spot fines of between 15 to 150 Jordanian Dinars.

Front seatbelts are required by law. Failure to wear one can result in a fine. All cars must carry a fire extinguisher and warning triangle. Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal.

Cars and coaches can become trapped by occasional heavy snow falls in winter and roads in mountain areas, including Petra and the surrounding area, can become blocked.

Adventure travel

Many organisations offer trips across Jordan to take advantage of the outdoor activities on offer. The quality of these tour operators varies greatly. You should ensure you are well prepared for any outdoor activities in Jordan with appropriate clothing and sufficient food and water for what can be extreme temperatures.

There are around 80 wadis (valleys) in Jordan. During the rainy season (November to March) there’s a risk of flash floods in these valleys. Before travelling to a wadi check the weather forecast and don’t travel to places where heavy rain is expected and for at least one day afterwards. If you’re caught in a flash flood go to a high point and don’t attempt to cross the water. If you’re in a vehicle try to drive to a dry spot. Contact the civil defence if the situation continues.

If you’re considering diving or snorkelling in Aqaba, be aware that safety standards of diving operators can vary considerably. Never dive or snorkel unaccompanied. Where possible make bookings through your tour representative and make sure the operator is accredited with an internationally recognised scheme such as PADI.

Petra

Petra is one of the world’s most treasured UNESCO Heritage Sites and it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. It has strict opening and closing hours which all visitors should adhere to. Being inside Petra outside of these hours is not permitted and could lead to arrest and prosecution. Ticket prices are displayed and anyone needing clarification should ask the tourist office staff before agreeing any additional charges.